Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
You hear him before you see him! Over the loudspeaker, his cries of ' Paper lama, Paper lama. Old Newspaper! Old newspaper!' ring out loud to signal his presence in the neighbourhood. He's our itinerant collector of recycled paper ( others may ask for all types of paper). Some come on tricycles, while those who can afford a van/lorry, come calling on households in the different townships to eke out an eco - friendly living .
I've forgotten when these familiar figures first appeared on the scene. Initially, there was a kind of curiosity and very soon they became a welcome sight as they go about their small businesses . Demand for recycled paper has taken a leap and a viable business is born!
Mr Lim and others, like him is a recognised figure in residential neighbourhoods. The modus operandi is simple - make regular rounds to buy old newspaper from households and sell them to the recycling plant. Some 'paper lama' vendors also trade in used car batteries .
The rain had just ceased and it dampened his spirit a bit. With his trolley, he helped me get 2 loads of old newspaper from my store in the porch into his van. It was half stacked with papers already and Mr Lim was making his rounds in Damansara and Petaling Jaya.
Mr Lim was camera -shy and was not comfortable with full- front pictures. However, he was relaxed when we spoke about the business at hand.
A typical day for him starts at 9 am till 5pm, rain or shine. He drives around the residential areas at a slow speed. Sometimes he has to make an abrupt stop as he has bypassed a resident and he pulls back to the gateway of the house. There, he faithfully pushes his trolley to cart the load of papers to his van. Payment for the papers is mutual - the vendor assesses the quantity and pays the 'current' rate. I have never quibbled about the payment as it is a win-win situation! He sends all the paper collected to a recycling centre in Petaling Jaya where the newspaper is used to make newsprint and paperboard. Previously there was a main recycling centre in Kepong.
He laments that people used to buy 3 dailies but these days, it's only one. Moreover, with internet access and information at their fingertips, people do not find the need to source news from the papers. His business has also decreased as schools give their recycled newspapers to the main dealer. That cuts off his source of income.
Business is usually a brisk affair but that morning, with the chat , it lingered a bit. Mr Lim was eager to resume his rounds 'coz the day had barely started for him. Till the next collection round, here's to our convenient collection agent- our very own 'paper lama man'!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Uncle Foo is never short of stories or knowledge about nature , be it about birds ( an avid bird-watcher himself) or passing on general information. He taught me how to view through a pair of binoculars and I bought my first with his help. He shares whenever he can.
He brought my attention to the roads in Bukit Bandaraya , Bangsar Baru and Damansara Heights since he used to live there. The streets in these neighbourhoods abound with examples of tree themes.
How often do we just address an envelope and not give any thought to names. In some towns, street names follow the type of activity of the area like Jalan Masjid (mosque), Jalan Makhamah (court house), Jalan Panggung (cinema) , Jalan Hospital.
Thematic street names are also quite commonly named after prominent people . For example in the suburb of Taman Tun Dr Ismail names like like Athinappan, Leong Yew Kow, Tun Mohd Fuad, Burhanuddin Helmi, Abang Hj. Openg. These personalities are honoured for the services they rendered to the country. In some neighbourhoods the streets have flowers, colours etc as their themes.
Here's my jaunt around Bukit Bandaraya and Damansara Heights to highlight some tree street names. I had some fun and game, so to speak, clicking my camera on the street names. Just when I thought all was clear on the road and safe to stand back a little for the picture, around the corner zoomed vehicles. Then I thought , if only my friends could see me now - a 'zombie' zooming from road to road and clicking on oblong road signs! At several spots I had to park and walk to the junctions where the street signs are positioned.
Beringin ( ficus benjamina) is a specie of the fig tree which is native to South and South East Asia. One can never fail to see aerial roots descend from the branches to the ground and these form secondary trunks. The beringin has an invasive root system and the bark is is pale grey with large dark green leaves. It bears round, red berries.
Keruing ( dipterocarpus sp. ) is a medium hardwood and a dominant specie of the lowland primary forest. It is widely grown in the Indo- Malaysian region. It reaches up to a height of 45 metre. The tree is grown for its timber to make furniture, flooring and decking beams. The Orang Asli make jungle torch using the resin of the keruing tree.
Tualang ( Koompassia excelsa) or colloquially known as the honey bee tree, is a majestic emergent tree of South East Asia rainforest . It is one of the tallest tropical tree species and is a member of the legume family and related to peas . Huge buttress roots support its weight. Very often, large combs of wild bees are found on the branches.
Penaga ( Calopyyhllum inophyllum) is a slow - growing, beautiful tree with fragrant flowers. It is found in non -swampy , sandy beaches and rocky shores.
Here are a few more street names as you drive along Bangsar Baru/ Bukit Bandaraya .Do look out for the names. Mind the traffic though!
bangkung ( Artocarous integer)
jejawi ( Ficus microcarpa)
tempinis (Streblus elongatus)
turi ( Sesbania grandiflora)
Many a tree is found in the wood
Saturday, January 9, 2010
My friend, Maggie has not lost the love for Chinese ink painting since she picked up the brush 12 years ago. 'It was the love to draw since I was young that made me pursue this art form.' Looking at her collection of works, I must say, she has done well to satisfy her inner spiritual needs.
Really, for Maggie, it's not about money at all. Since then, nothing has been sold but it does not bother her. Her technique has really improved and she is proud of herself. Her sifu has taken a few of her pieces to exhibit in China and Singapore.
With her neighbour, they have been attending classes regularly, once a week. Practice should be daily but it seems to be a struggle so it happens only twice or thrice a week. The young and the old come together to the sifu's class in Cheras to learn this art . The youngest is 6 years and the oldest, 70 years. They try their skills on popular subjects - scenery, fish, bamboo and plum blossom.
I have to marvel at Maggie's achievements for after a full day's work in the office, she gathers her tools to relax and unwind in her hobby till it's time to have a good night sleep. She especially loves to draw fish - be it carp, angel or gold fish.
One thing she's ever so thankful for is her husband's advice to make great effort to learn how to write her name in Chinese. That seals her own piece of achievement. Last of all, comes the bright red seal with her name inscribed on it.
Yes,without any doubt, Maggie has sealed her talent there.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Atop the small mound, the 'ayer' chanted, ' Blessings ! Blessings ! Shower upon them, Almighty! The thaali was tied and the mrindagam, tabla, nadeswaran all created a happy din! His home , KL was mine henceforth. KL has given me everything - my creature comforts and a home with new beginnings. Importantly, this is where my husband and I have raised our family of 3 kids. We've crossed borders ourselves, steeped in different cultures and practices , enriching our lives among the multi -ethnic citizens of KL.
The city throbs long after I go to bed. It pursues a frenetic pace rushing headlong into the millennium to make its stand among other cities in the world . It has come a long way from its early beginnings and the original pioneers could not have known how its location has smiled favourably upon it. Indeed, fortune smiled upon the growth of KL from its first days and today, KL continues to thrive - a metropolitan city of 1.6 million people.
It stands unique - a city so diverse and dynamic. Its people, their faces embody the spirit and soul of KL. There are so many stories to tell and their stories cross borders and they ask for understanding for them to be heard.
It is not surprising that first -time visitors take a little time to adjust to the diversity and wonders of what makes a Malaysian!
Even for a KLite myself, there are surprising revelations as I stroll around KL. I guess it's the spirit that lives in us that changes the pulse of the place and the people who live in them. On a plane, you see nothing, on a motorway you see the backend of the lorry in front. Come, join me and let the faces of KL 'tell' their stories. There's more if we can sit down over a cuppa!
One and all, these faces are the faces of 1 Malaysia. Take a stroll around KL - there's no better way to get to know the city and her people than to mingle and see with your own eyes. They will take you straight to the heart of the local experience. I found them along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, in a nasi padang shop, SOGO shopping mall, Semua House , Madras store, Jalan Masjid India, MidValley mall, Bangsar and Bukit Damansara - a microcosm of KL's rich tapestry.